Even though we have barely crossed the starting line into 2015, I must admit I have already blown it in keeping my New Year’s resolution. When will I ever learn...
There are truly only two things to remember:
1. love God more.
2. everything else will fall into place.
If my motivation for keeping my New Year’s resolutions is to please me...I will fail. If my motivation is to honor God, love Him and give Him all of me in ALL I DO, I will have a far better chance for success because my motivation is far bigger than myself...it’s Him.
Each day at the top of my journal page I write “How do I love You more today than I did yesterday?” The trick is not just to write this sentence at the top of each new page… the challenge comes in remembering to do it.
This is not a new problem, but there’s a new term for it...spiritual A.D.D.
In the Old Testament book of Numbers 15:38 the Lord says to Moses:
“Speak to the Israelites and tell them that throughout their generations they are to make tassels* for the corners of their garments, fastening a violet cord to each corner. When you use these tassels, the sight of the cord will remind you of all the commandments of the LORD and you will do them, without prostituting yourself going after the desires of your hearts and your eyes. Thus you will remember to do all my commandments and you will be holy to your God.”
God Himself has told us how to stay focused, how to “jog our memories,” how to keep our resolutions, how to remind ourselves to LOVE Him with all of our hearts, minds, soul and strength, how to keep His commandments...it’s easy. He says… use TASSELS!
Now I don’t know about you, but sewing tassels on the corners of all of my garments might be...well, a bit awkward.
I have chosen instead to do something my father taught me...a more “socially acceptable” form of tying a string around my finger. I wear a “remember Me” ring and a few bracelets with messages on them that direct my thoughts upwards. Everytime I look down at my finger or my wrist, they remind me to be hopeful, to be loving, to be kind, to be generous and caring, to say “Fiat” to all He is asking of me and to “duc in altum” (go into the deep) and go for it--to share and tell of His love to others. They remind me that all the saints in heaven are pulling for me and even better yet, these little baubles bring to mind that He has great hopes for me too. They tell me to recall that He has invested His all in me… His own Son. That makes me feel so loved that I want to love and please Him all the more in return.
The Churchy word for these type of reminders is “sacramentals” or “devotional articles.” These are “material objects, things or actions (sacramentalia) set apart or blessed by the Church, to manifest the respect due to the sacraments and so to excite pious thoughts and to increase devotion.”
Sacramentals can be all sorts of things: crosses, medals, bracelets, necklaces, anything to remind us of the One we love, and Who loves us most. Just as a wedding ring reminds us of our devotion to our spouse, so too, these sacramentals remind us to be faithful to our God.
And-- to add even more fire-power to my resolution, the Psalmist says this:
“In my heart I have treasured your promises, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
I therefore try to have a mini-arsenal of Scripture “hidden in my heart” ready to extinguish the fiery darts, the temptations that come my way. Here are just a few that I find most helpful:
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty Warrior to save, Who will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love, Who will sing joyfully because of you…” Zephaniah 3:17
“Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
“…Well done my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your Master’s joy.” Matthew 25:21
“Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16
“I have the strength for everything through Him Who empowers me.” Philippians 4:13
“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7
“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
1 John 3:2
My prayer is, no matter what you plan to “conquer” in the new year, it will be dedicated to Him, and done for love of Him. He is worthy and deserving of all our love and devotion.
Here I stand in the foyer of the New Year. Please take my offering of self to You and empower it with Your strength and Spirit. Infuse me with You and give me the grace to do far more than I could ever do on my own. Please help me to “seek You first and the things of Your Kingdom...and know that all of the other things will be added to me…” In a word… help me to get my priorities and motivations straight. Help me Lord, to resolve to love You first and foremost because it is the natural response when I remember that this is how You feel about me. Thank You Lord for each new day to start again with You.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.